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‘Refreshed spaces’ greet students upon return to campus

Facilities maintenance continues year-round

As students prepare for the start of The Ohio State University’s 2023-24 academic year, the work of the university’s Facilities Operations and Development (FOD) has never stopped.

When activity on campus slows down over the summer, “it’s a good time to do a lot of small project work, a lot of painting, a lot of what we call ‘refresh projects,’” Peter Calamari, associate vice president of FOD’s Operations team, said during a recent episode of the City of Ohio State podcast.

“At any given time, there will be 100 small projects going on in public spaces and in mechanical spaces where we’re upgrading a steam valve or we’re doing all these different aspects of building maintenance that most people don’t see.”

FOD completes most work orders within 48 hours, Calamari said.

“That tends to be forward-facing kind of things: ‘The outlet in my office isn’t working, the restroom, there’s a leak at the faucet,’ those kinds of day-to-day things,” he said.

Of the tens of thousands of work orders that FOD receives each year, the most common maintenance request for academic buildings is for temperature adjustments, Calamari said.

“If you think about the sheer number of employees or classrooms or different types of spaces that people are in over the course of the day, that creates the challenge,” he said. “If you think about a student classroom where large numbers of people are coming in and out on the hour, that can also cause temperatures to fluctuate.”

Sustainability is a major focus for FOD, Calamari said, including implementing programs that reduce water usage and increase energy efficiency and planting trees and shrubbery.

“We probably planted 1,000 new trees just last year alone,” he said.

The ongoing work to maintain campus grounds and facilities may not always be noticeable but can make a big difference once completed – especially when students return to campus at the start of autumn semester, Calamari said.

“When people come back, campus does look different,” he said. “They see their space as a little bit more inviting.”

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